A long time reader of this blog e-mailed me a question last week that bears discussing:
"I'm curious to what your thoughts are on the very short period of time that a consumer has to decide to buy the timeshare or not---generally within the confines of a 3 hour high-pressure sales pitch and the relatively short time frame---generally a week or so that they have to decide to cancel or not vs. the length of time the resort has to allow you to use the product---generally several months at best. Why the inequality?"
I hadn't really given it much thought before, but this reader raises a very interesting point. Why the inequality here?
Let's look at other purchases and other "rescission periods" and the reasons one may rescind such purchases.
If I purchase an article of clothing, I not only get to try it on at the store, but I get to try it on in the comfort of my own home. If I bought a pair of shoes, they may fit, but they may not match the dress. So I can return them for a full refund. And while I don't need to provide a reason within the mandated 15 or 30 day refund period, the point is I've had a chance to use the shoes and make an informed purchasing decision.
Other, larger ticket purchases also allow the purchaser to use the product. You don't buy a $35,000 automobile under the terms "we'll mail you the steering wheel within 3 months, but you only have 3 days to cancel your purchase." You need the steering wheel to use your purchase.
There's airline tickets and hotel reservations that you pay for now with "delayed usage" of course. But, if the airplane doesn't take off or the hotel is not what was advertised, you have rescission recourse.
With timeshare, an average purchaser puts down $2,000 (an increasing number pay cash in full, according to a recent ARDA survey) and has an average of 7 days to cancel and receive a full refund.
However, their usage can be months, or up to a year away. Think about it...the resort has to send the exchange company paperwork to the exchange company and the exchange company has to process the paperwork. The best case scenario for this is a month...certainly longer than the average rescission period.
Then there's the matter of when the purchaser actually receives the week or points into their account and when the all-important "usage-year" begins. My conservative best guess on this is 90-120 days.
Am I and my reader missing something here?